Finding Late Round Value
If you are anything like me, the first ten-twelve rounds of your draft are quite smooth. You have navigated your way through your rankings, the host site’s ADP, and your competition, and are feeling good about the team you have constructed thus far.
In most standard Redraft Leagues there are 16 rounds. The late rounds are where the rubber hits the road! If you participate in a league that drafts a kicker and a team Defense, I would recommend that you leave those two for your final two selections. For the purpose of this article we will omit those two roster spots.
Utilizing Fantasy Pros PPR ADP, I identified players from rounds 13-16, and some that will go undrafted that you will be able to start from time to time in 2020; some may even emerge to be weekly fixtures in your 2020 lineups.
5. Round 13 Picks 145-156
TE Dallas Goedert – Philadelphia Eagles Overall ADP 146
Finished last season as TE10 with 134.2 PPR points in 14 games played. Grabbing a potential top-12 TE in the 13th round is a no-brainer.
TE Eric Ebron – Pittsburgh Steelers Overall ADP 147
Two years ago, Ebron was the TE4 posting 206.2 PPR points in 15 games. That was with Andrew Luck as his QB and after scoring a ridiculous 13 TDs. Last year, Ebron appeared in 11 disappointing games for the Colts. He managed only 86.5 PPR points. This season he moves on to Pittsburgh and is a nice big red zone target for Ben Roethlisberger. You could do much worse this late in the draft.
QB Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals Overall ADP 148
I am pretty high on this rookie. Joe Burrow comes to the Bengals as the first overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft. The average rookie season finish for the 14 #1 overall QB selections since 2001 is QB25. The six Heisman Trophy winners averaged a rookie season as the QB13, led by Cam Newton’s QB4 finish. Kyler Murray was the next best, finishing 2019 as the QB7. The only other Quarterback selected first overall since 2001 that had a top 12 rookie season was the Stanford Cardinal, Andrew Luck. Burrow has the upside and the weapons to join these QBs in the top-12.
RB Nyheim Hines – Indianapolis Colts Overall ADP 149
Hines is not a RB I would typically call out. Then again, Hines doesn’t have a typical QB leading his offense this season. Philip Rivers is known for throwing to his running back and has made Danny Woodhead and Austin Ekeler fantasy RB “must owns” in the past. I don’t know if Hines is a must own RB, but I have invested in him often at this stage of my drafts.
WR Curtis Samuel – Carolina Panthers Overall ADP 151
Samuel was a pre season hype machine last year and ultimately disappointed his fantasy managers. Samuel completed 2019 as WR34 with 168.4 PPR points in 15 games. He accomplished WR34 with subpar replacement level QB play for the majority of the season. Teddy Bridgewater is an upgrade at QB, and despite what most believe, Samuel is much more than a deep ball WR. He’s easily worth the pick here in round 13.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo – San Francisco 49ers Overall ADP 155
Jimmy G is easily one of the most underrated fantasy QBs there is. I get that the 49ers run more than they pass, but Jimmy coming back off a torn ACL threw 27 touchdown passes compared to only 13 interceptions while compiling 3,978 yards in 2019. Those numbers, although not spectacular, were good enough for a QB14 finish. What is Jimmy doing on the board in round 13?
WR Breshad Perriman – New York Jets – Overall ADP 154
Perriman as a first round selection by the Ravens was a complete bust as a fantasy receiver until Week 13 last season. Overall, Perriman finished as WR53 last season. From Weeks 13-16, he was WR4. Weeks 15 & 16 he was WR2. The pessimist will say that was without Chris Godwin and Mike Evans in the offense, and the optimist will note that he is unchallenged at the WR position for the Jets. Be an optimist and take a flyer here.
TE Jonnu Smith – Tennessee Titans Overall ADP 156
In his fourth season in Tennessee, Jonnu Smith is finally a starter. In a limited role in 2019, Smith finished as TE19 with 69.7 PPR fantasy points. In 2019, Smith ranked eighth in yards per route run among tight ends who were targeted at least 25 times, and he finished third in avoided tackles after the catch among that same group of players. The two TEs that avoided more tackles after the catch were Travis Kelce and George Kittle. Smith is my 12th ranked TE in 2020. In the back of the 13th round, yes please!
4. Round 14 Picks 157-168
TE Chris Herndon IV – New York Jets Overall ADP 160
Chris Herndon IV is a bit of a forgotten man after his 1 catch, 7 yard 2019 season. Suspended for the first four gmaes and nearly injured for the remainder, its easy to understand why he has fallen this far in ADP. In 2018, the rookie finished as TE14 as a rookie. Herndon IV, if healthy has top-12 upside and is a bargain this late in your draft.
WR Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs Overall ADP 162
Sammy Watkins was horrible last season. The worst part about it was he was pretty much healthy for all of it. The man that could never stay healthy, and when he finally did all we got out of it was a WR49 finish, 6.6 PPR points a game. So why is he on this list you ask. Well, all signs indicated that Watkins was an easy release this offseason for Kansas City, but in the end they brought him back. They want him in KC and Patrick Mahomes is still the best QB on the planet. Here is hoping we get more games like Week 1 from a year ago: 9/198/3 – 37.8 PPR points and tops at the WR position.
QB Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings Overall ADP 163
Kirk Cousins won’t win any popularity contests in Fantasy, but the man deserves some respect. Last season was the first time in five years he didn’t finish as a top 12 Fantasy quarterback, and he was on-pace to do so again (20.8 Fantasy points per game) through Week 13. The Vikings will throw more in 2020, they will have to if they want to compete week in and week out. Cousins at QB21 is ridiculous. I am comfortable waiting until this stage to grab my starter and I suggest you should be as well.
TE Blake Jarwin – Dallas Cowboys Overall ADP 166
Blake Jarwin signed a new four-year contract. The deal has a base value of $22 million and includes $9.25 million guaranteed. Combine the contract with the departure of Jason Witten and it adds up to opportunity for the 4th year TE. Jarwin can’t block a lick, and I am banking on the Cowboys investing in him as target for Dak Prescott in this offense. If Witten at 37 can produce a top-12 season, I like the chances of Jarwin to breakout. This is excellent value for those that have waited on TE in their draft.
WR Brandon Aiyuk – San Francisco 49ers Overall ADP 168
The rookie from Arizona State has a clear path to becoming the No. 1 wide receiver in the 49ers’ passing game. Besides tight end George Kittle, the top three remaining players in terms of total receptions returning from 2019 are Kendrick Bourne (33), Tevin Coleman (23) and Kyle Juszczyk (20). Considering how highly Shanahan was on drafting Aiyuk, the rookie is going to get ample opportunities as early as Week 1. Aiyuk is totally worth a flyer in round 14.
3. Round 15 Picks 169-180
QB Philip Rivers – Indianapolis Colts Overall ADP 174
I have been on the Philip Rivers bandwagon all offseason, and at times it feels like I am all by myself. Rivers will have something to look forward to in 2020 that he hasn’t experienced in years, protection and time to throw the football while playing behind the league’s best offensive line. Rivers will be able to provide streaming value from week-to-week as he guides this offense. His current ADP is a laughable 174 and he is the QB24. Grab Rivers late as your QB2 and reap the benefits. Just don’t be surprised how often you start him this season.
WR Allen Lazard – Green Bay Packers Overall ADP 172
Allen Lazard is all but locked in as the team’s No. 2 option in the passing game, making him an intriguing late-round target in all drafts. Picking up some of the slack over the last 11 games of 2019, Lazard scored and had over 65 yards three times and was under 50 scoreless yards in the other eight. He’s a favorite of QB Aaron Rodgers, and he’s also inconsistent. At this stage of the draft shoot for upside, as Lazard certainly has some.
QB Gardner Minshew – Jacksonville Jaguars Overall ADP 170
Grabbing Minshew here wont get you a case of Bud Light, but it will get you a QB that flashed at times as a rookie in 2019. Jacksonville is likely one of if not the worst team in the league. That is good news for fantasy. A). they will be throwing a lot, and B). Garbage time points count. All you have to do to realize the upside of Gardner Minshew is Google “Blake Bortles fantasy finishes.”
WR N’Keal Harry – New England Patriots Overall ADP 175
I have been down on Harry since he declared coming our of Arizona State, thus far he hasn’t proven me wrong. Harry will hopefully improve in 2020. He has a lot to prove and is only worth drafting with a late-round pick. He should be the No. 2 receiver for the Patriots behind Julian Edelman, and Newton could be good for Harry’s Fantasy outlook in 2020.
QB Cam Newton – New England Patriots Overall ADP 178
Cam Newton should be viewed as a borderline No. 1 QB with significant upside. Newton missed most of last season due to a foot injury and hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2017, so the risk is obvious, but it’s worth remembering how impactful he was at the height of his powers. He was a top-five Fantasy quarterback every year he played 16 games and he was the No. 12 quarterback in 2018 in 14 games. With Josh McDaniels in New England, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Newton delivers another top-10 season. If late QB is your thing, this is your QB in 2020.
2. Round 16 Picks 181-192
RB Damien Harris – New England Patriots Overall ADP 181
Damien Harris had a disappointing rookie campaign in 2019, but he might be a sophomore surprise in 2020. The Patriots could give him an increased role to help Sony Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead this year, especially with Michel coming off foot surgery in May. He has drawn positive reviews in camp with Michel out, and that head start could make him the favorite to start in Week 1. Harris should still be selected in the back half of your draft, but it’s not unreasonable to think he’s a top-100 pick after this training camp.
WR Antonio Brown – Free Agent – Overall ADP 187
Antonio Brown is hoping to return to the NFL this season after being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list last year. If signed, since he’s currently a free agent, he will have to serve an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy. He is only worth drafting with a late-round pick in deep Fantasy leagues. In the right scenario, Brown could still be Fantasy relevant once his suspension ends.
QB Teddy Bridgewater – Carolina Panthers Overall ADP 184
Teddy Bridgewater left New Orleans to become the starter for the Carolina Panthers, and he’s a deep sleeper in a one-quarterback league and a solid No. 2 option in Super-flex leagues. Bridgewater was solid in relief of Drew Brees in 2019, showing great timing and accuracy while keeping most of his targets close to the line of scrimmage. In Carolina, that will play well with Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel there to do damage after the catch. If Carolina’s defense is as bad as it looks on paper, Bridgewater could be a high-volume passer with a chance to sneak into the top-12 Fantasy quarterbacks by the end of the year.
QB Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders Overall ADP 191
Derek Carr is expected to open the season as the starter for the Raiders, and we’ll see if he keeps the job all year. Carr has mostly been mediocre as a Fantasy quarterback, but he did score at least 21 Fantasy points in six of his final 10 games to close last season. He could emerge as a weekly streamer, especially with new additions in the receiving corps like Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards to join Darren Waller, Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow. But Carr is not someone to target on Draft Day in one-quarterback formats. Carr is only worth the flyer here if you are into carrying more than one QB on your fantasy roster.
TE Irv Smith Jr. – Minnesota Vikings Overall ADP 192
Once sleeper tight ends like Jonnu Smith and Blake Jarwin are off the board, Fantasy managers should consider Irv Smith with a late pick. The Vikings’ second-year prospect ran more routes last year lined up as a receiver (191) compared to tight end (169), finishing with a solid 76.6% catch rate and five of 36 receptions good for 20-plus yards. If his playing time picks up, there’s no doubt his numbers will increase. Minnesota could easily have designs on using Smith as a mismatch against opposing defenses, and that’s why he’s worth speculating on at the end of your draft.
1. Undrafted Value Picks 193+
QB Sam Darnold – New York Jets Overall ADP 193
Sam Darnold enters his third NFL season with the chance to be a sleeper Fantasy quarterback. Most likely, Darnold will go undrafted in most formats, but hopefully he stays healthy and can perform at a high level in 2020. In 2019, Darnold missed three games after being diagnosed with mono, and it’s hard to say when he was fully healthy after returning to action in Week 6. He has new receivers in rookie Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman, and they will help replace the departed Robby Anderson. Hopefully Tight End Chris Herndon can stay healthy this year. Along with Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, Darnold has enough talent to succeed, and he’s an option from the start of the season in Super-flex leagues. In one-quarterback leagues, keep an eye on Darnold’s production, and he could become a streaming option.
TE O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Overall ADP 195
The addition of Rob Gronkowski seemed like a significant stumbling block for Howard, however training camp reports indicate he may have more of a role than we think, as the 25-year-old Howard could actually be the primary Tight End for the Buccaneers with Gronkowski being used more in certain situations. Howard owns a career mark of 10.4 yards per target, which is extremely efficient. If he finds a way to see a nice dose of targets on a semi-regular basis, he still has the ability to vault into the top 12-15 Fantasy tight ends, and is potentially a worthy add off your waiver wire.
WR Randall Cobb – Houston Texans Overall ADP 194
Randall Cobb signed with the Texans this season as a free agent, and he will be the No. 4 receiver in Houston. The Texans’ top three receivers are expected to be Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller and Kenny Stills. Cobb will still have a prominent role, and Cooks and Fuller have a hard time staying healthy, which could benefit Cobb. He’s unlikely to produce at a high enough level to be drafting, but Cobb could emerge as a waiver-wire addition if an injury occurs.
RB Devonta Freeman – Free Agent Overall ADP 204
Devonta Freeman is not draft worthy until he finds a team, and it’s unlikely he’s more than that after he finds a team. Freeman was ineffective in 2018, averaging a paltry 3.6 yards per carry. He also hasn’t stayed healthy for a full season since 2016. At this stage of his career, Freeman seems more likely to find a third-down role than a starter’s gig. With that said, in this crazy COVID-19 season, its not hard to imagine him signing and you adding him off your waiver wire.
WR Alshon Jeffrey – Philadelphia Eagles Overall ADP 206
Alshon Jeffery began training camp on the Eagles Physically Unable to Perform list. He is trending towards staying on the PUP, and as a result he’ll be forced to miss the first six weeks of the season. He had inconsistent production (15-plus PPR points in 9 of his past 23 games) which combined with his injury makes him likely to go undrafted. He could be waiver wire material in Weeks 7 or 8, so keep and eye on him if you find yourself WR needy midseason.